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Las Vegas Teens Find Inspiration at LA Youth Day

March 28, 2019

“Trust! God’s Gotchu.” 

That was the theme at this year’s Religious Education Congress, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Religious Education. It is the nation’s largest annual gathering of Catholics and once again Viatorians — accompanying teens from the Las Vegas area — were there.

“It began powerfully with more than 12,000 young people in a huge arena singing worship songs and participating fully in the Catholic Mass,” says Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, who accompanied 60 students from Bishop Gorman High School. Another 30 students from St. Viator Catholic Community also made the trek to the Anaheim Convention Center.

Bishop Gorman High School students came away inspired.

In addition, other Viatorians attending included: Associates Kim Martinez, Rosie Hartz, Deb Perez, Anthony Gugino and Brian Barrett, as well as Fr. Bill Haesaert, CSV.

They had their choice of attending 14 workshops, with powerful and inspiring speakers. They ranged from “A Dialogue to Defeat Racism,” and the impact of “Mission Driven Leadership,” to “Understanding the Mass” and “Exploring the Life of Mary.”

Fr. Mike Schmitz , Director of the Newman Center at University of Minnesota, offered the keynote address to teens and was a real highlight.

The closing Mass with Archbishop José Gomez is one of the most memorable moments for teens.

“One workshop in particular that I attended with a large group of our students was a loud and upbeat presentation on music presented by Joe Melendrez , a Campus Minister from a high school in Los Angeles,” Robertson added. “The kids in the room were on their feet the entire time while they learned about the power of music in praising God and that ‘church’ music didn’t just have to be the slow songs they heard at Mass.

In all, 90 students from Bishop Gorman High School and St. Viator Catholic Community attended,

“They were so pumped up at the end as they walked out of the session still dancing and singing,” Br. Rob added. “The kids from Gorman came back fired up with a renewed sense of what it means to be young Catholics in today’s world. ”